Friday, February 18, 2011

Lincoln Park Zoo - 2.16.11 - Show Me Your Teeth!

Apparently Lady Gaga has been at the zoo.  All the animals felt it necessary to Show me [their] teeth! (The little monsters...)

*NOTE*  The last two pictures in this post are of carnivores, you know, being carnivores.  The tiger and the wolves were given some kind of bone with meat on it.  Personally, I don't find it any more disturbing than walking through the fresh meat department of your neighborhood grocery store.  It's not like you can even tell what kind of animal the meat comes from.  But if you're sensitive to that kind of image... you've been warned. :)

Stripping Branch
 I spent an inordinate amount of time watching the giraffe strip the bark off this branch.  They didn't want to eat the wood, but they seemed to really enjoy pulling off the bark with their tongues and lips.

Nimble Lips

It was amazing to watch how deftly they use their lips to maneuver the branch.
The Gang Says "Ahhhhh!!!!"

All the meerkats were into showing their teeth.  I think the guy on the left wanted me to see if meerkats have tonsils!
I'z not fat!  Dere's Two of us!

This shot cracks me up because it looks, at first, like there's one huge meerkat in the foreground.  There's not.  There's one in the foreground and one in the midground, with his back turned and face hidden.
What do you mean, you're "missing" a dentist?

Polar bears are the biggest bears in the world.  Which means their teeth are right up there in size.

This Siberian Tiger was actually enjoying the snow.  He was rolling in what was left of it.  And showing his teeth while he did it.  But we got an even better view when he got fed a few minutes after this shot was taken.

Teeth: This is what they're made for
 Those are some serious incisors.  That 'upstage' paw holding dinner still is a healthy size too!
Hungry Like the Wolf

There's something very classical about this image.  A wolf eating a piece of meat.  I think it's the kind of thing we all think of when someone mentions wolves to us.  Well, that and a certain young lady in a red cape. ;)  Or you know, if you're me, a certain Duran Duran song.

Later... eyes and toes.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lincoln Park Zoo - 2.16.11 - Animal Raspberries

Okay, so the weather in Chicago has changed drastically since my last set of posts.  There is no snow left under the homemade snow gauge and for the last few days the weather has been hovering around the 50's (F).

It's not exactly beach weather, but when you get a nice day in Chicago in February you take advantage of it.  I went to the zoo.  It was almost deserted.  I mean, if I ever wanted an entire zoo to myself, this was my day to have it.

Annoyingly, I grabbed the footplate from one tripod and the other tripod.  I've also discovered through chatting with someone from another blog that my camera needs to go in for repairs.  The graininess isn't from too high an ISO or something I can correct on my own.  It looks like I may have knocked my sensor out of alignment.  *sigh*  I have a shoot this weekend with a local group, and I'm annoyed that I'm going to have to make this trip with a screwy camera, but after that I'll be able to send it in for the two weeks it'll take to get it repaired.

Anyway, I decided that I'm bored making posts from zoos that just say, "Hey, I saw a lion!  I saw a hippo!  I saw a bird!" in either alphabetical order or chronological order of whatever I saw first in the zoo, so I figure you all have to be tired of seeing them.  Instead I'm going to make theme posts for this trip.

One of the things I find really funny for no particularly good reason, is animals sticking out their tongues.

So here is the animal world sending you a great big raspberry! (Or a carton full of them!)

And you thought small children had some bad habits.

A tongue to keep up with that neck.

This polar bear doesn't think much of your idea.

Doesn't care for that one either.

It seems that tongue length is proportional to body length.  First the giraffe, now this guy.

Mmm... you look tasty.

I know that last one is cropped a bit oddly, but she was eating what I think was either a deer or cow leg.  It was clearly prepped in the zoo kitchen and not nearly as gross as it could be, but I know that's not everyone's cup of tea.  I'm going to put up some shots of the carnivores doing their thing, but I want to let people opt out of viewing that if they'd like.

In the next few posts we'll be looking at teeth, eyes and feet!

Monday, February 14, 2011

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

11:00 - 24 hours and we seem to have survived it.

Okay, I think this is going to be my last Blizzard 2011 post.  There's still some blowing and drifting, but not anything major.  The news is now talking about the 'recovery' phase of all this and about official totals... so I think we're about done.

 Looks like the official total for my block will hover around 18 inches.  Though, once I'm sure we're out of the thick of it, I want to go around and see how deep some of these drifts are.  I'm *sure* they're more than 18 inches!

Just in case you forgot... this was the shot at 11:00 yesterday (wherein I forgot to bring my iPod down, but really, this was 11:00 yesterday.

 You can't tell where this car ends and the snowdrift starts.  That's my can rin the background.  I don't plan to move it soon, but I think I'll have an easier time than this guy.
 People are attempting to get down the streets on occasion now.  The tracks left are at least a foot deep.
 It looks like exactly one person has managed to make it out.
And noon.  No significant change from 11:00.  I think, possibly, it may be over.  I may run down one more time tonight before it gets dark to see if we pick up a little more drifting, but I think this is it.  18 inches in Uptown for the Blizzard of 2011.  I'm not looking forward to having to move my car once the plows have come through.

Day 2 - 0900 hours... part 2

Okay, the rest of the 'what I woke up to' shots...

Why All Good Doors Open In
 My front door.  It's a very good thing it opens in. It's hard to see, but it's about 2 feet high against the door.  Someone shoveled a one-shovel-width path in the middle of the walk about 4 inches before I woke up.  But you had to go through the two feet against the door to get to it!
Puppy Plows Through the Snow
Dogs continue to love it. This isn't the same mountain dog I saw last night, according to the owner, but it looks like him.  Anyway, he just kept running up and plowing into the drifts and rolling around and having a blast.

One Foot, Two Feet Deep
Perspective is so hard to gauge in the snow.  This is my footprint from where I stepped off the curb and between two cars.  I found myself up to my hip in snow.  The good news is, the snow is still light and fluffy and pristine so it wasn't hard to pull myself out.

Where the Sidewalk - and property line - Ends

Where the sidewalk ends... apparently at the property line.  But I love how it looks like someone cut a slice out of the snow.

Angel over Asphalt
This is the *middle* of my street!  A neighbor was out walking with her friend and  we were talking about how awesome the snow is (when you don't need to go anywhere and can just play in it.)  So she made a snow angel in the middle of our unplowed, undriven-on street.
Snow-one's Going Anywhere

This is our street.  Now you can see how and why she could do that. :)
Winter Marches On

Okay more arty-pictures.  Snow does make for fascinating patterns and contrasts.

Tree Wears a Coat of Snow

A close up of the snow embedded in the bark of a sleeping tree.

Up next... the 24 hour mark.

SNOMG! The Chicago Blizzard of 2011 - NOW it's snowing. (0900 2.2.11)

[NOTE: A year late and a dollar short?  So today is one year from this blizzard and I went looking for this post and discovered... I never posted it!  It managed to get stuck in my draft folder.  So here it is a little late.  Chicagoans, in our 50 degree weather today, can you believe this was us last year?]

Okay, all that big scary snow stuff they talked about heading our way?  IT'S HERE!

I did make a quick run out at 20:00 last night before I went to bed.  6 inches total then.

Then I woke up and went out this morning.

Um yeah... 13.5 inches now.  But here's what killed me.  I walked around for a few minutes taking pictures.  When I got back to the gauge I kept thinking, "Wasn't it the 14" mark that I could see before?  I'm sure it was."

Well, 12 minutes later, that mark was gone and 15" was in danger.
Almost an inch in 12 minutes.  12 minutes!

Now, 15 inches of snow is no joke, of course, but what really kicks you in the butt are the drifts. I stepped into one, not realizing it was over a drain and therefore a kind of snow-sinkhole and ended up in snow up to my hip!

 *My* car isn't a snow mushroom.  But the drift next to it means it's unlikely I'll be going anywhere in it any time very soon.  Especially since my street hasn't been plowed yet, so it hasn't been buried but good yet.
 Here's a shot down a nearby street.  There are footprints, but no tire tracks.  This isn't a 'major' road, but it's not really a side street either.  Obviously they haven't plowed anything but the major roads yet.
 Okay, so I said *my* car isn't a snow mushroom.  That seems to be by the luck of which side of the street I parked on.
 I love the divots made next to the cars on the left side of the street made by the way the snow drifted.

This is Montrose Ave. in Chicago.  It's a snow road.  As in, you may not park here when it snows.  I suspect these cars would have been towed if they hadn't had all the trucks rescuing people off near-by Lake Shore Drive.  They are plowed in but good.  As you can see, it was still seriously snowing (Heck, it's *still* seriously snowing almost two hours later) and mostly going horizontally.

Okay, there's more from this particular snow-check, but it's 11:00 now... 24 hours after I started blogging the storm.  Gotta go see how much we've gotten in a day.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

1800/1900 - So far I'm unimpressed.

Okay, I took the 18:00 shots and then took a break to make dinner.  I went out and took the 19:00 shots and discovered... not much had changed.  So I'm going to toss these up and then wait until 22:00 to take some more.  It's getting crazy cold and it's hard to shoot at night and I'm not seeing the kind of change I was hoping for.  So...


Still about 4 inches on the ground. 
The bushes seem to be picking up a good dose of the white stuff.
Car is still visible.  (Wow, what a different look when you don't use the flash.)
Met a guy walking his puppy.  No, seriously, Bernese Mountain Dog puppy.  Five months old and *loving* the snow.  He wanted to eat ALL of it.  But he was so clearly made for this weather, he was having a blast and was totally affectionate.
So far we can still see the fireplug.

I did find this kind of interesting: More than 4 inches on the SIDE of the gauge.  Less than 4 in front of it.
My cool shot for this batch.  The way the wind is blowing is creating interesting shapes and 'shadows' in the snow.

Seriously, not much has changed...

 Snow is now exactly 4 inches.

And I discover that my car is pretty clean from *most* angles.  Clearly the wind is playing a huge part in where accumulation occurs.

More at 10:00 p.m.  I'm kind of hoping to be awake at 11:00 to do a 12 hour before and after, but I'm not counting on it. 

17:00 - I had a cool accident

Not the slip in the snow and get ice water in your skivvies kind of cool accident, fortunately. ;)  A photographic cool accident.

First, the gauge... oddly, it hasn't changed really since 16:00. What has changed is that I now need my flash to shoot.

 What I noticed was that the snow is actually accumulating against the *back* of my gauge.  See the previous post where I realized that I have it in a fairly sheltered spot.  For certain definitions of 'sheltered' in Chicago during a blizzard.
 The car doesn't look too bad.  If I had to move it, I could.  But I won't.
 Same with the fireplug.
The street is gone and there's not much traffic.  I think everyone's come home, parked their car and hid by this point. :)

But here's what was cool.  My camera stops stuff.  My flash is... meh.  It works well close up but gets weak in the middle ground and does nothing for anything in the background.  However, when you put all that in combination with a metric boatload of falling snow.... you can get a really cool effect.

It's a little Van Gogh's 'Starry Night', don't you think?